Hiking out of dismal was difficult. Our group lost some of our early honeymoon spark but not love for the trail. It didn’t help that our climb out was long and “hand railed” dismal creek. Every second of the afternoon was spent walking by water headed back to our new favorite paradise. We started late and didn’t have big ambitions. We decided to go to a famous hostel, Woods Hole, called a slice of heaven on the AT. Woods hole is a pig farm that has a few garden plots of organic vegetables and herbs. At least we could enjoy some good veggies and maybe wash off the shame of the zeros.
At least we could enjoy some good veggies and maybe wash off the shame of the zeros.
We trickled in just as evening was settling and descended to the hostel down a steep gravel road. We all paid to camp, always a little painful since we sleep in the woods nightly (for free), though this time we would also enjoy showers and a dinner cooked in more than one pot. The place had charm but like most places overly hyped on the trail, it didn’t live up to the heavenly reviews. But I also don’t think I gave it a fair chance. The garden plots looked good but not nearly as good as anything farm boss Reid Rosemond was putting out at Sol Patch Farm. The owners were nice but required a lot of volunteer efforts every day. I’ve worked jobs in amazing places as an indentured servant. You learn a lot with the last lesson that someone is taking advantage if you. The dinner was mostly made by hikers staying there and featured fruits from the field. It was nice to eat greens and feel like I could stave off scurvy for another week.
From the outside it looked like a place that would rot your insides at best and feed you from the pet hospital at worst.
Next was the big city of Pulaski County, Pearisburg. This area of southwest Virginia is riddled with charm and feels familiar after my four years at Virginia Tech. The day was an easy cruise to town from Woods Hole and even featured some jogging by Sambo and I (it takes a moment of adjustment to the speed at which things blur by after walking for months). Thru Tang gathered at the most obvious rendezvous in town, the all you can eat Chinese place. It was right next to Food Lion and a Harbor Freight, were some wanted to get sling shots, so it was perfect. From the outside it looked like a place that would rot your insides at best and feed you from the pet hospital at worst. The second we stepped inside we couldn’t have felt more wrong. The crooked sign and peeling roof were forgotten when the selection for a king is met with picturesque dragon statues, aquariums, and a soundtrack of smooth jams as you clog your arteries. Never judge a book by the cover, this meal was perfect.
Resupply took surprisingly long so we decided to not hike far from town. It was getting late and the prospect of margaritas compelled Tesla and Caboose. We met up with Chewy for the first time in weeks. He got off to get a cortisone shot in his ankle 100 miles ago and decided to catch a ride to meet us. This decision ultimately made him a yellow blazer and would later fragment our group. Temptation lurks around every free ride.
So by not far out of town I meant we would stay in town. It’s amazing how ambitious plans get made easier and easier as alcohol gets involved. We ended up drinking a box of Franzia, sunset blush of course, in a field on the trail in a neighborhood. Boxed wine brings out the inner child (adult juice box) and led to some shenanigans. Before long we were dog pilling (jumping on top of) on the first of us to fall asleep. Around midnight I jumped on Jack Attack followed by Rambo. Shortly after Sambo and Snuggles caught air for maximum impact. Near the bottom I felt the last two the worst and came up with a pain like a sledge hammer to the ribs. I woke up the next morning unhappy to find a dull roaring pain still present in my chest.
Maybe the trail isn’t the dangerous part. It has established itself as a setting for having pure friendships and childish fun, all up and down the East Coast. What a fantastic playground we have in our own back yard! More “juice boxes” and orange slices please!